Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) questioned Google VP Karan Bhatia on Tuesday about YouTube’s censorship of PragerU, in particular, a video about the ten commandments. Bhatia told the senator that YouTube has placed PragerU videos in “restricted mode,” including one video about the ten commandments, because it mentioned “murder,” in the context of the sixth commandment.
“One of the companies that has been demonetized by Google repeatedly is Prager University,” said Sen. Cruz on Tuesday, “Mr. Prager is, in my judgement, a highly learned, erudite individual studied and well-thought on a great many issues.”
“And in my experience,” continued Cruz, “I’ve always found that I learn when listening to Mr. Prager, whether I happen to agree with a particular issue or not, and yet, YouTube actively censors the content Mr. Prager is producing. Is it your view that Mr. Prager is somehow disseminating dangerous ideas?”
“No, senator,” answered Bhatia, who insisted that all PragerU videos are available on “the main YouTube channel.” The Google executive then went on to allege that a small percentage of users on YouTube have activated the site’s “restricted mode” feature to block potentially offensive material on the video-sharing platform.
“These are mostly institutions like churches, or perhaps school, where there’s certain more mature content that they choose not to have access to,” explained Bhatia, who claimed that less than two percent of YouTube users have activated this feature. “We do feel it’s important to give those institutions that degree of control.”
“And so, for that very small percentage, they will not have access to Mr. Prager’s more mature content,” said the Google executive, acknowledging that a percentage of PragerU videos have been placed in “that category of more mature” content.
Sen. Cruz noted that among those PragerU videos placed in restricted mode by YouTube, one video is about the ten commandments, and a second video is on the history of the nation of Israel.
“The restrictions are purportedly for blocking things like pornography,” said Cruz, “but apparently in YouTube’s world, talking about the ten commandments and the nation of Israel is comparable and should be blocked.”
Bhatia responded by stating that those particular PragerU videos “are not censored,” but rather, have simply been placed into the category of “restricted mode.”